This is really big. People crossing the Channel in small boats will no longer be deemed by legal professionals as ‘illegal entrants’ but ‘arriving passengers’.
The courts have just confirmed what we’ve all known.
When someone risks their life crossing the channel, they are not “illegal”. Crossing a border to seek asylum is never illegal. The legal experts said the judgements meant that people could not be called illegal until it was proved that they had no right to stay in the UK, in the same way as a defendant was innocent until proven guilty.
Language matters. When a small group of people seeking safety are wrongly described as illegal, it gives legitimacy to prejudice and division. It ignores a simple truth: every person making these desperate journeys is a human being who deserves respect, compassion and safety.
We now await politicians and press to change their use of language pronto…